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TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa (TGRSA) continued its outstanding performance in the 2024 South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) with an exceptional showing at the Vryheid 400, held on 24-25 May in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The team secured a remarkable one-two-three finish, solidifying their dominance in the championship.

Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings took the top honours, piloting their Toyota Hilux IMT EVO to victory with a final time of 6hr 43min 01sec. They were closely followed by teammates Guy Botterill and Dennis Murphy, who finished in second place, 5min 43sec behind. Completing the podium was Giniel de Villiers and Elvéne Vonk, finishing in third place, 12min 42sec behind the leaders.

The Vryheid 400 route, featuring varied and demanding terrain including farmlands, rocky sections, and picturesque landscapes, provided a true test of endurance for all competitors, and stretched the competing cars to the limit. Despite the tough conditions, TGRSA’s crews rose to the challenge and delivered exceptional performances.

Reflecting on the race, TGRSA Team Principal Shameer Variawa commented, “We are thrilled with the results from the Vryheid 400. Our crews showed remarkable skill and determination, navigating the challenging terrain with precision. The one-two-three finish is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire team.”

The event kicked off with a 14km Castrol Qualifying Race on Friday, 24 May, followed by the main race stages on Friday afternoon and Saturday, 25 May. The competitors tackled a 40km stage on the Friday afternoon, which was followed by a 175km route, starting with one stage on Saturday morning, a 30-minute service break, and then tackling the same stage again in the afternoon.
Henk Lategan, reflecting on their victory, said, “It was a challenging race, but we pushed hard and managed to secure the win. The team did an incredible job preparing the car, and we are thrilled with the result. This victory gives us great momentum as we look ahead to the next rounds.”

Saood Variawa and Francois Cazalet, the team’s fourth crew, showed promising performance during the qualifying race. However, on Saturday, they outbraked themselves and made a hard impact with a tree, bending one of the steering arms on their car. Despite losing significant time, they managed to bring the car to the finish, demonstrating maturity and tenacity despite the setback.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa now looks forward to the next event on the calendar, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Safari 1000, Round 3 of the championship. This race, sponsored by the team, adds additional pressure to perform, and will take place on 21-23 June 2024 in the bushveld area around Thabazimbi in the Limpopo province. With two victories from the first two rounds, TGRSA is in a strong position early in the season, and will be aiming to carry this momentum forward to Round 3 and beyond.

Vryheid 400 Final Standings:

PositionDriverCo-driverVehicleFinal Time / Gap
1Henk LateganBrett CummingsToyota Hilux IMT EVO6:43:01
2Guy BotterillDennis MurphyToyota Hilux IMT EVO+5:43
3Giniel de VilliersElvéne VonkToyota Hilux IMT EVO+12:42
4Lance WoolridgeKenneth GilbertFord NWM Ranger T1++12:52
5Chris VisserAlbertus VenterRed-Lined REVO T1+ GTR+26:44
6Lance TretheweyVincent CrosbieCentury Racing CR6+31:01
7Fouché BlignautBertus BlignautToyota DKR Hilux T1++32:24
8Gareth WoolridgeBoyd DreyerFord NWM Ranger T1++35:45
9Rients HofstraWade HarrisRed-Lined REVO T1+ GTR+36:35
10Johan de BruynAdriaan RoetsRed-Lined REVO T1+45:34

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Toyota Financial Services, Innovation Group Services and Kinto.

Published by: Rowe Racing

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